LUBBOCK, TX (KCBD) – Thursday morning more than 90 volunteers scoured through Lubbock trying to count the number of homeless people. The results are used to get money from the federal government.
Some local churches and organizations were offering a free breakfast Thursday morning to increase chances that the homeless would be a part of the count. Others took to the streets to locate as many of the Hub City's homeless as they could. It's all a part of the point in time count being administered throughout Texas cities this week.
"We're counting the folks on the street in Lubbock. We're trying to get a handle on how many people are out there, what kind of needs they have, and have they been met," said Captain Mike Morton with the Lubbock Salvation Army.
Morton says the numbers go to the Department of Housing and Urban Development, or HUD.
Barrett Smith is a minister at Carpenter's Church and has spent much of his time trying to help Lubbock's homeless. He filled out the survey for several people on Thursday. 3 training sessions were held to teach the volunteers how to administer the survey.
Thursday morning he and more than 90 others battled the 20 degree weather before sunrise to find the homeless, a battle he says is worth it. "The higher number we have, the more funds are able to come into our community to help people that are on the streets," he said.
The survey has 38 questions on a variety of topics like medical history, previous employment, and the last place they slept. "I think getting an accurate account of what we have out here is just imperative to be able to determine what the need is," Morton said.
The trouble is finding them. The city's new curfew bans all persons between midnight and 5 a.m. from the Mahon Library, the Civic Center, City Hall, the Lubbock Business Center, Patterson Library, and the Groves Branch Library. The homeless previously slept at some of these locations. "This year we have a particular challenge. The Mahon Library- the curfew has run them off of there so we're having to canvas a little harder to find them," said Morton.
Even Texas Tech Students got involved in the count. One teacher offered extra credit for students to branch out. "Professor Langford wanted us to step outside of our comfort zone a little bit, maybe challenge ourselves with something we wouldn't normally do," said Zach Hulshouser.
The number of volunteers doubled from last year and Smith thinks things went well overall. "Everybody was real congenial, real friendly, and worked with us very well."
Final numbers from the count weren't available early Thursday afternoon; we'll update you here as soon as we get them.
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